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Monday, May 10, 2010

Garnering Respect for Animals in Words and Deeds

May is Animal Guardian Month, a time to recognize In Defense of Animals' Guardian Campaign. The Guardian Campaign promotes the use of the term “guardian” instead of “owner” when referring to our animal companions. This international effort is to encourage greater respect, responsibility, and compassion towards the animals who accompany us through life. Guardians are more likely to spay and neuter animals, provide proper veterinary care, and adopt rather than buy and sell animals. Guardians are also less likely to chain their animals, abandon or betray them.

A growing number of communities are replacing the term “animal owner” with “animal guardian” in their ordinances and literature, recognizing that the word “owner” doesn’t truly reflect the human-animal bond. Animal shelters, schools, child and animal welfare organizations, and community groups have also endorsed using the term “guardian” as an inexpensive educational tool that can help supplement adoption and spay/neuter programs by communicating the value of animal care and protection to the whole community.

Here are some ways that you can help put your compassion to action for animals during Guardian Month:

  • Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
  • Remind people in your community to have animals spayed and neutered to reduce animal homelessness.
  • Ask the media to stop using the term “animal owner” and use “animal guardian” instead.
  • Prepare your companion animals for an emergency with water, food, medications, a pet carrier for each animal, extra leashes, etc. In an emergency, remember that the safest place for your animal is almost always with you. Don’t leave them behind when danger approaches.
  • If you know an outstanding animal guardian, nominate them for IDA's Guardian Award. Send nominations to guardian@idausa.org. Shine a spotlight on positive efforts to help animals.
SOURCE: In Defense of Animals (IDA)

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